Today has been the first day I’ve been seriously considering my project, as my proposal has been reviewed.
I have got an idea to develop a narrative around a camera technique that I have been interested in using for a very long time.
The project requires me to build a rig out of a plank of wood, perhaps attaching handles to the ends if it’s necessary, so as to make it more stable. The camera will screw into a hole drilled into the middle of the plank, and with a person holding each end of the rig and preceding to run with it, the effect given will be that of something moving very quickly at ground level, as if chasing something.
My protagonist will be chased by this POV camera, steadily getting more nervous as the film goes on. This increases as bins get knocked over, and he starts to run, looking scared.
The revelation at the end will tell the audience that it is just Father Christmas following him, trying to get his new address, as he’s moved house in the past 3 months and never sent him a letter to tell him.
As you can see, the film will start off as an unnerving horror film, with the music to match, but finish as a comedy, when the twist is revealed.
The project is titled “Bloodthirsty.”
More to follow.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been reflecting on relevant sources and motifs that I intend to use and experiment with for my project.
The best example of the shot I want to recreate can be found in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gD45zfarp1Y
The video also provides the tutorial for creating the rig, something which I have since followed.
From attending a Camera Rig module on my course, I have since gained extra insight into how to build the rig needed, and where to gain the equipment. A different, Digital Cinematic, strand I also attended; allowed me to appreciate the fluidity and aesthetic value of a multitude of camera techniques. By combining the two, I have the ability to manufacture a variety of rigs and shots, not only for the project, but for future use too.
A few days ago, I went out and created my rig. This was achieved by purchasing a metre long plank of wood, measuring the exact centre and drilling a hole in it, then finally slipping a bolt through the newly drilled hole and securing it with a nut.
When attached to the camera, the nut will apply pressure from one side of the plank of wood, while the bolt, after being screwed into the camera, will give the camera enough weight to apply pressure from the other side of the plank of wood.
The finished rig may not look like much, but after having seen the shots it can produce, I am excited to go out and shoot.
I will be getting to work on my script next.
I have been finalizing my script over the past few days. The dialogue in my film will only consist of about 30 seconds to 1 minute of talking. The rest of the film is a tense chase sequence, using my rig.
There are two characters in the film. I have cast myself to play Father Christmas, and my friend Shaunn Belfield will play the man being chased.
The script is as follows:
A man is walking down a road. Cut to another shot (using the rig) of something following him, getting faster and faster. As the man starts to realize, he starts to run faster and faster as the film keeps cutting between each of the two shots, one of the man running and one of the thing following him.
After being chased for a while, the man, slows down as he turns around and realizes that it is only Father Christmas chasing him, so he stops running completely. They engage in dialogue.
Man: Are you serious? (throwing hands up in disbelief)
Father Christmas: (Out of breath) Mate, I’ve been following you since Sainsbury’s! I only need your address! You’ve moved house in the past six months, how do you expect me to deliver your bloody presents?
Man: (In shock) You’re not even real! You don’t exist, the Royal Mail deliver my presents, occasionally on time…(under his breath)
Father Christmas: (In anger) Oi! Don’t give the postal service credit for my work mate, it takes a lot of time and money to deliver presents all over the world on one bloody night. You know where I live? A place called Lapland mate, and you know where that is? It’s up North! Too bloody up North! Now here, write your address and sign it please, before I make you go ho-ho-home and fuck yourself! Cheeky bloody kids… (as he passes a pen and paper to the man)
*man writes his address on the paper and gives it back to him*
Man: Maybe my presents will be on time this year then…
Father Christmas: Here’s your bloody presents mate! (Flicks a two fingered hand gesture) Happy pissing Christmas. Dick.
Father Christmas walks off frame as the man is left staring in disbelief and confusion. Cut to credits.
The film is obviously intended to be a comedy.
I have also gathered a few people to be my crew. The production casting is as follows:
Tom Clark – Director, Producer, Camera, Actor, Editor, Soundtrack
Alex Hills – Camera, Sound, Cinematographer
Shaun Belfield – Actor, Set Photography
The next thing to do is to gain the filming and recording equipment, and start principal photography.
Filming was partially completed yesterday, apart from a few re-shoots that I will be conducting at some point over the next week.
Overall it was very successful, the idea remained the same and the locations all worked out accordingly. By this I mean I was expecting the roads to be busy, due to it being filmed in the middle of the day. However, I was quite lucky in getting the shots that I wanted. On top of that, the day was very overcast, which led to my shots looking very blue and dirty. I could’ve changed the ISO for these shots, but I believe they worked in my favour, due to the gritty opening of the film.
Due to the battery dying, I will need to re-shoot some scenes, otherwise I would’ve been able to complete the whole shoot. It’s unfortunate, but a circumstance that I should’ve been prepared for, and ultimately was not.
On top of this, the soundtrack was also recorded successfully, even if it is a simple, singular guitar note being played over and over again, gradually getting louder. It works though, as it makes the film more tense and creates suspense, which is what I am aiming for in the final piece.
The rig worked exactly how I thought it might, and I am very pleased with the shots that they provided in particular.
Below are some pictures that were shot on sight, for the purpose of the blog. They show myself, in costume, directing Alex Hills, my cameraman and cinematographer. They were taken by Shaunn Belfield, the actor, and now set photographer, that I was working with.
As well as these shots, I managed to review the footage and select a few screen shots of some of the scenes that will be included in the final piece. Without giving too much away, here they are:
Alongside all of this filming and soundtrack work, I also found a relevant couple of sources for the comedy style that I’m aiming to achieve. It’s a ridiculous, in your face style of comedy, partly slapstick and partly satirical. It has been heavily influenced by comedy troupes such as the American The Lonely Island who mainly produce comedic music videos, featuring various celebrities, and The Midnight Beast, practically a British iteration of the former, however not as famous. Links to both of their Youtube pages can be found below:
Next, I will be working on my re-shoots, while editing the footage that I have already compiled. So far, a successful and enjoyable project.
Due to having to have a final piece to show to my peers on the 10th, I’ve had to scrap the idea of re-shoots. It’s not too much of a big deal, it just would’ve fleshed the film out a bit more.
That being said, I managed to edit the film over the last couple of days and make it work with the footage that I had. Overall I am very impressed with it, as it makes me laugh, and it looks good.
Because we didn’t change the ISO on the camera when we were filming, the footage looked a bit dark, which was what I was aiming for. In editing however, it looks more blue. I was a really big fan of this look and kept it in as it still makes the film look dark, but aesthetically pleasing. It is just pretty to look at, which helps, especially as the film gets more comedic.
The final piece has been getting good reviews with the few peers that have seen it, and because of this, I am excited to show it to more people next week.
The whole project took a few weeks to complete, and when I have written my Critical Evaluation, reflecting back on the highlights and process of the filming, whether it be good or bad, my project will be 100% complete.
The project has been a lot of fun. It’s been a joy, being encouraged to be as creative as I want, and working with a team of people I can rely on to benefit the final piece. Of course there are things I would’ve done differently, or better, for the purpose of the project, but for what I’ve had to work with, I’m satisfied.
For now, I present to the readers of this blog, my final piece.
This is The Nightmare Roughly a Month Before Christmas.